A year ago, Time and Newsweek waxed nostalgic for the days of the Depression, the Civil War, and World War II, as they compared President Elect Barack Obama to FDR and Lincoln. Having inadvertently raised the bar to the former one-term senator’s presidency to absurdly high standards, today, the MSM is longing simply for the Obama of a year ago, the last moment that he could still plausibly claim to be “a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
As the Washington Post notes today:
A year ago, Barack Obama‘s true believers were euphoric. [Not the least of where those true believers inside the Post’s offices –Ed] The huge and jubilant gathering in Chicago’s Grant Park on election night 2008 gave way to almost 2 million people on the Mall for the president’s inauguration.
He took office as the most popular incoming president in a generation. A movement had become a mandate of nearly 70 million votes. People hoped the new president would bring change to Washington, the hallmark claim of his historic candidacy.
Now, the mood through much of the nation seems restive, even sour. It is almost jarring to look at the photographs from Grant Park, to study those upturned beaming faces, many streaked with tears. Was that a movement? Or just a moment?
Maybe it was all just a hand job:
Update: A closer shot, via Ace of Spades:
Flashback: The New Yorker’s George Packer, written on the day of Obama’s inauguration, January 20, 2009:
There were echoes of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, but President Obama uttered no words today that will be quoted in a hundred years. He has never been a real stem-winder or a coiner of unforgettable phrases; what he’s always been is a great explainer, who pays the rest of us the highest compliment—the appeal to reason. Today he explained why Americans need to grow up, and the tone and vision of his speech—sober, realistic, clear-minded, undaunted—were absolutely equal to the occasion and the times, down to his requisite scriptural passage: “The time has come to set aside childish things.”
Of course the expiration date on that pledge would come almost immediately afterward via both Rahm and Obama. But still, it was a nice sentiment for the nascent administration, at least during the moment it was being uttered.